Right-hander Logan Shore was good. The All-American was facing Florida’s B-team lineup with mostly backups on Tuesday, but he had a good day. The coaches have been very happy with how his arm looks early after taking the fall off because of a groin injury. His changeup looked like it was in midseason form, inducing weak contact.
Freshman Christian Hicks smoked a single off Shore during his first at-bat, but when they matched up two innings later, Shore finished him with his best changeup of the day. However, the sophomore was getting noticeably tired in his third inning of work and walked two hitters.
Dane Dunning was the best pitcher of the day. When he throws strikes, these are the kind of outings he has. He faced Florida’s lineup of starters and gave up just one hit. The hit was a single to Richie Martin, who used his speed to steal second, move to third on a ground ball and score on a wild pitch. Other than that, Dunning allowed only a bloop single to Josh Tobias. His stuff is electric, and I think he pushes for a weekend rotation spot at some point during the season, even though I don’t expect him to start the year in the rotation.
This was also my first look at freshman Alex Faedo. I wasn’t able to see him in the fall, but he didn’t disappoint on Tuesday. The ball comes out of his hand so easily. There isn’t much unnatural torque in his delivery, but the ball gets on hitters in a hurry and with ease. He gave up two hits and one walk while striking out one batter, but he’s going to be a really good one by the time he leaves Florida. It could even begin this season.
Richie Martin’s defense at shortstop was nothing short of spectacular. He made a great play in the hole at shortstop and threw across his body to second base for the final out of Shore’s outing. He also made a great play to get to a slow roller and quickly get the ball to first base earlier in the scrimmage. For the five scouts in attendance, Martin’s defense didn’t disappoint.
One of the Florida lineups had the starting lineup and the other had the backups. The orange team had the lineup that wouldn’t surprise me at all if it was the one Florida ran out to start the year. The batting order went Richie Martin (SS), Buddy Reed (CF), Harrison Bader (LF), Pete Alonso (RF), A.J. Puk (1B), J.J. Schwarz (C), Josh Tobias (3B), Mike Rivera (DH), Dalton Guthrie (2B).
O’Sullivan has two center fielders that can handle the position defensively in Bader and Reed, but it was Reed that played the position on Tuesday and seems likely to fill that role throughout most of the year. Reed made a nice diving catch in left-center field and has great range for the position.
Alonso looked fine in right field. He’ll never win a Gold Glove at any level regardless of position, but he looked comfortable enough to at least be serviceable in right field if that’s the lineup O’Sullivan elects to go with.
The lineup of starters got off to a quick start against left-hander Bobby Poyner. They scored four runs in the first inning of the scrimmage, jumpstarted by back-to-back bunt singles by Martin and Reed. Bader drove both in with a double in the right-center gap, and Alonso scored Bader with a single up the middle. Three batters later, Tobias lined a double into the right-field corner to score Alonso.
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